If you’re uneasy about the rapid pace of player transfer expansion, I understand, but, in the bigger picture, isn’t this better for college football?
On Wednesday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts announced his transfer to Oklahoma. As a graduate student, he will be immediately eligible, and he will likely be the third consecutive transfer to win the starting quarterback job for the Sooners. Hurts will also try to become the third straight quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma.
But Hurts isn’t alone. As he touches down in Norman, Oklahoma, former OU QB Austin Kendall is taking off for Morgantown, West Virginia, where he expects to find WVU’s starting quarterback job waiting. Elsewhere, Ohio State will be breaking in its newest enrollee, former five-star Georgia backup Justin Fields. He got to Columbus, Ohio, just in time to see the Buckeyes’ 2018 backup, Tate Martell, depart for Miami. Both are seeking waivers to become immediately eligible.
The flood isn’t just feeding an elite few. All over college football, talented arms are washing up on shore.
When true freshman Trevor Lawrence won the starting job at Clemson, he sent Kelly Bryant and Hunter Johnson to likely starting roles at Missouri and Northwestern, respectively, where they will replace likely NFL Draft picks. Before Jake Fromm sent Fields packing for Ohio State, he sent another former Georgia five-star QB, Jacob Eason, to Washington. Both could be starters on College Football Playoff-caliber teams. Brandon Wimbush left Notre Dame to take over at UCF. Alex Delton has moved from TCU from Kansas State.
Quarterbacks who just a few short years ago would have been sitting on the bench as backups — talented players, mind you — are getting their chance to hit the field at new programs. Obviously, if you’re a fan of one of the receiving programs, this is an unequivocally good development, but from an overall perspective, how is it not a good thing for college football for more talented kids to play?
Similarly, there are 135 kids leaving early for the NFL draft. Now, those slated for the first round and those who’ve hit the academic skids would go no matter what, but if there were adequate compensation for college players, how many of those 135 might stay for another year in college? How would that not be a good thing for those who watch college football?
Sure, it’s always going to be the case that we’ll root for a school, but college football is a more competitive and better follow with the most talent and experience it can deploy.